First of all, let me just say that I am immensely grateful for coupons and the stores that multiply them. That helps our grocery budget so much.
This week, Harris Teeter is doing a triple coupons promotion. I usually find out about these a week or so in advance, thanks to coupon forums like www.hotcouponworld.com and www.afullcup.com (I subscribe to the forums in a feed reader – so it doesn’t take long at all to skim post titles to read if a great event is coming). Harris Teeter’s rules are pretty simple. 20 coupons a day, and no more than 3 like coupons.
As usual, I ordered several batches of coupons off ebay. I get lots of 10 to 20 of the same coupon, and choose items that we either need, really like, or stockpile well. This time, I got coupons for meats, bread, sugar, etc.
I walked into the store this morning around 7:15. It had been my understanding that triples started at 7, so I thought the timing was pretty good. I passed some pretty upset-looking ladies on my way in. I could tell they were couponers because of part of the conversation I heard and the giant file box one of them was holding.
Once inside, I headed for the items I figured would sell out the fastest. To my surprise, the shelf was already almost empty! There were a couple left for me, so I went on.
A few minutes later, I heard a manager talking to some other employees about “we’ll beat them at their own game.” Great. . .trouble was brewing.
When I went to check out, I could see several carts full of coupon items and the really upset ladies were up front, and still just as upset. I’m not too sure what happened – it looked like they were trying to break the rules and got caught or something. Maybe they tried to do multiple trips and got stopped. Who knows. But they were MAD and it was plenty obvious.
It added fuel to something I’ve been pondering for a while now anyway. Just why do we coupon in the first place? Is it to have the biggest stockpile ever, and brag about it on the internet? Is it to see just how many of the same item we can get for free? Is it to see if we really can get $300 worth of merchandise for just $.02?
There’s nothing wrong with stockpiling – we’re getting more into that a little bit ourselves. We buy what we can when things go on sale, to hopefully last us until the next sale. It’s a great way to buy the things we usually use at the lowest price possible. But really, what average family can really eat 47 boxes of oatmeal before it goes bad? Or brownie mixes? Or sausage? Why do people feel the need to completely clean the grocery store shelves, just so they say they got a bargain? Whatever happened to being a considerate person?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not upset. But after what I saw today, I can’t help but wonder how many couponers are motivated by greed. I know it’s tempting when grabbing the best deals to get them all, but on the other hand, I want to be considerate. How many other moms are out there, hoping to get some good deals just to stretch their small grocery budget? If that’s MY motivation for going – surely I’m not the only one. It’s not like those stores are obligated to offer triples.
And about how I did – ring sausage for $.25, popcorn shrimp for just over $1 a box, 100% whole wheat bread for $.40 – made my trip totally worth it. I even got to get a couple new flavors of coffee creamer I’ve wanted to try. :O) Some of the things went right to stock the freezer a little bit, and some of the others were just a treat.
So tomorrow I’m hoping to head back up there for another run. I might be joining a lady from church. We’ll see. Showing someone how to do triple coupons is always fun!